28-29 December 2018 – A Lyke Wake Pantomime (Oh yes it was!!)………………….

A brilliant weather forecast (at least for late December) tempted me away from the residual turkey & mince pies to have a little dirge on the Moors.

Earlier this year the New Lyke Wake Club demonstrated its sense of the ridiculous & made me a Past Master – the qualification for this honour includes the following ‘exhortation’…. ‘he/she should be able to find his/her way across any moor without map or compass. in any conditions, day or night, drunk or sober….’, so on this occasion I went for ‘impeccably sober’ combined with ‘overnight’ and ‘without map or compass’ (doh!). Darkness descended whilst I was on Hasty Bank and (unforecasted) mist & drizzle were the conditions as I reascended up to Carr Rigg towards Botton Head. Head down against the swirling wind I pressed onwards along the fire-break. After a while it occurred to me that I’d being going downhill for a while & still hadn’t reached the railway. Mmmm? A momentary gap in the mist and the track ahead appeared to be taking me in the direction of a vertical array of bright red lights, pretty sure; (a) the TV mast on Bilsdale West Moor is the only one within 25 miles & (b) west is definitely not the direction I’m supposed to be going in! Another fleeting glimpse through the mist allowed me to deploy latent boy-scouting skills; I identified The Plough & hence Polaris – allowing me to progress eastwards & northwards until I was sure I was on Rudland Rigg & then onwards back to the railway. I thought that might be enough navigational incompetence for one crossing until I got on to Rosedale Moor & after skirting a bog or two realised I was no longer on the line of boundary stones – I could have done without ploughing through soggy waist high heather in the misty murky darkness and realised when I got to the road that I somehow had managed to actually get north of Bluewath Beck. So decided to take the route north of Wheeldale Gill over Pike Hill which was fine & I got to the Stape Road ok. Common sense would have seen me go south & get back on the Classic Route at Wheeldale Lodge but both good things & mistakes seem to come in threes, so heading eastwards for what I thought was Goathland saw me floundering about in the dark eventually finding a farm track & bridge which in retrospect I think must have been somewhere near Nelly Ayre Foss and onwards across a moor which seemed to endure for ever & after climbing over a second barbed-wire fence, got to the railway without ever finding Simon Howe or Goathland village. Couldn’t work out where I was but decided there weren’t likely to be any trains at 4 am & so walked along the railway uphill which proved to be the correct decision as this got me to Fen Bogs. The rest went according to regulation, though I have very firmly decided that the loose
angular gravel they’ve placed on the Fylingdales Moor firebreak is an exquisite form of purgatory for blistered heels after 35+ miles. So overall a bit of a navigational pantomime. Past Master? Yeah, right!

Q – Is this a Lyke Wake record? – the only dirger ever to have got lost on the Urra Moor firebreak!

Dirger Evans.

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